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safety issues with electric space heaters?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
hi
with the price of natural gas skyrocketing, i was thinking of using my two small space heaters more often this winter than i did last winter (the electric company just started a program for low income people to get a discount, so my electric bill is a lot less than it used to be)

i worry about the cats though!

these are small heaters that look and work similar to a toaster with a fan in it, at least thats how it looks to me.

they are supposed to automatically shut off if tipped over, but i dont trust that they will do that, or do it fast enough to avoid a fire. things can get pretty dry in the winter!

to be the most useful to me, i would need to run this heater over nite.

has anyone ever done this?
i have never used an electric heater unless i was awake and able to check on it often.

i just dont know how safe these things are.

i have a snugglesafe disc that i heat in the microwave to help keep my oldest cat warm at night.

but my only other source of heat is a gas oven/heater, those old fashioned ones
this one has no blower or fan or anything, so when it is on (it does not even have a thermostat, its on, or its off!!) the kitchen can get quite warm while rooms further away can be downright frigid (i can and do freeze things in my back room in the winter )
i finallly learned not to store things like shampoo back there, because after they have been frozen they are never the same again, all full of clumps and stuff- icky.

any alternatives to using electic space heaters welcome, i mean, as long as it does not involve buying some other kind of heater (i have seen these oil filled ones, and i cant afford those)

i mean, like ways to keep the heat in and the cold out

usually i nail heavy bedspreads over the windows in the coldest rooms in the house (the windows are so old here, and so drafty)

i put plastic up over the other windows.
i keep a clothes drier rack in the kitchen and dry wet towels on it, it adds humidity to the air and makes it feel warmer
and i fill the bathtub with cold water, which also adds humidity

before i had cat eating plants, i used them to raise the humidity too- it really works!!

just seems like there are other things i could do.
electricity scares me!!
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
before i had cat eating plants


i mean, before i had plant-eating cats!!

i need to get more sleep!
post #3 of 17
I saw an interesting heating option at Lowe's the other day. It's some sort of new radiant heat technology. Looks like a flat panel and you can hang it on your wall like a picture, then plug it in.
I didn't check the BTU's on it, but it was relatively inexpensive. About $75.
We were thinking about giving it a try to heat our cattery this winter.

By the way, I went to the garden section too. The cat eating plants were waaaaay over-priced, so I decided not to get any.
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Bengals

By the way, I went to the garden section too. The cat eating plants were waaaaay over-priced, so I decided not to get any.
That's the second time this thread has been the cause of coffee on my keyboard!
post #5 of 17
I know my parents used to have a screen that went around the keorosene and electric heaters when I was a baby so that I and our old dog wouldnt get too close... I don't know if cats would try to jump it, but that's the first thing I thought of.... or, are there places you could put the heaters that the cats can't access, but are safe for the heaters? (ie, my Oliver cant get up on certain counters because they are simply too high, so that's where I keep my warm vaporizor when it's on because the steam can really burn)...
post #6 of 17
If tipping is your main fear, if I remember correctly those kinds of heaters have little flat metal legs on them. You could probably buy a "handi-panel" of plywood, either 2x4 feet or 4x4 feet and screw through the legs into that base which should make it totally non-tippable I'd think. The wood should, depending on thickness and size cost no more than $10-15. Then maybe buy a few cheap self-stick vinyl tiles to put on the panel first to dress it up a bit. Just an idea.
post #7 of 17
this will be our first winter with a cat so im not sure on the cats tipping them over but we have gas heat and will not be turning it on this year. We have 3 space heaters-- one in each of the kids rooms and one downstairs in the den. We have a fireplace in the living room so that should take care of that room and the hall. Our room, well we will have to suffer. We use the small saftey (stop when they tip over) heaters in the kids room and they have ALWAYS shut off when they got tipped over either on accident or on purpose. Never had aproblem with them not stopping. We are planning on replacing them this year as they are a couple of years old and i dont want to risk anything with my fur/skin babies. The tippable saftey thing though does work. We have actually been using my 18 mo old daughters saftey heater in her room this summer as her room is like a refridgerator literally in the summer with the ac running. Not an option to turn ac off as its 90 plus during the days here still.
post #8 of 17
Space heaters aren't safe. They cause fires. (Just call your local fire department and ask their opinion.) They should only be used when someone is there to monitor their operation. A safer alternative is the "permanently sealed oil-filled electric radiator heater."

One example: http://www.jcpenney.com/jcp/Products...ItemId=0c95e9e
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoseHawke
If tipping is your main fear, if I remember correctly those kinds of heaters have little flat metal legs on them. You could probably buy a "handi-panel" of plywood, either 2x4 feet or 4x4 feet and screw through the legs into that base which should make it totally non-tippable I'd think. The wood should, depending on thickness and size cost no more than $10-15. Then maybe buy a few cheap self-stick vinyl tiles to put on the panel first to dress it up a bit. Just an idea.

well the ones i have, have plastic bases but i like your idea, i will see what i might be able to do to keep them stable that way.

thanks
post #10 of 17
I assume you are talking about those space heaters that actually glow orange when they are on...am I correct? I never really trusted those, it seems to much can go wrong. If I was awake and using one, that would be ok. There are other space heaters that are much safer. Not just the oil filled ones. They are called "ceramic heaters". There is no coil that glows red hot and the heat from them is BELOW the combustion temperature of paper. They really do a good job for their small size. I have used them in the past to add extra heat in a reptile room. They do shut off if tipped over and they also have a safety feature, where if the unit would get too hot, from something blocking the vent, the unit will also be shut down. I am not sure how much they cost however, been a while since I purchased one. You could put plastic over all the windows and if there are rooms that you do not use at all, keep the doors closed. Do you have any upstairs rooms? If you do not use them as well, close off the entry that leads to the upstairs. If there is no door, you could hang a blanket in front of the entry to help block the heat from going upstairs, since heat rises. If you use the space heater with the glow coils, just make sure nothing combustible is close to the heater.
post #11 of 17
I am with others. I don't really trust those space heaters, either. A lot of people in Florida seem to use them, and every winter there is at least one news story about a house fire being caused by one.
post #12 of 17
My parents used to have kerosene heaters, and let me tell you all three of my siblings got burned at one point or another. I don't think they use them anymore, esp now they have a dog. My new house is electric with a propane stove in the basement as a supplement. We just turned it on the other day- so far the cats don't seem to have an interest. I was a bit worried. My husband pointed out that they never seemed to sit on it or be around it when it was off.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Bengals
I saw an interesting heating option at Lowe's the other day. It's some sort of new radiant heat technology. Looks like a flat panel and you can hang it on your wall like a picture, then plug it in.
I didn't check the BTU's on it, but it was relatively inexpensive. About $75.
We were thinking about giving it a try to heat our cattery this winter.
We have those over here - they warm up the room well, you can keep them on indefinately and they don't use a lot of electricity. Also because they are wall mounted, you can place them in such a way they would be out of reach of cats or any small children.

My Mom has been using them for a couple of years with no complaints. You can also buy ones that are thermastaticly (sp?) controled.

Juli
post #14 of 17
What about regular radiators, guys? the kind that are attached to the floor? I don't have a furnace or gas heat...I just have good, old-fasioned radiators. (The free heat kind! Hooray!)...Do THEY pose any sort of safety concern? Leo did fine with them last year. We actually put a thick baking stone on top of the big one and he'd sleep uo there. But noy I have a kitten...any ideas?
post #15 of 17
I know you didn't want to hear us say, "buy an oil-filled electric radiator", but that's really the only advice I'll give you. I wouldn't trust myself with the kind of heater you have, let alone my kittens. Especially while I'm asleep.

The oil filled electric radiators are great, and I don't think they're all that expensive. My parents had a couple for their basement, and they were marvelous. When I lived in the bedroom down there in high school, I brought one into my room, and it was perfect. It actually had temperature ajustments, maybe not a thermostat, but it could be ajusted to heat different sized rooms perfectly. And the ones my parents had actually were able to heat large spaces well. Their living room down there was probably 45'x18', and had an opening to a large hallway/stairway, and it stayed warm during the winter with just one of the radiators.

Buying one of those is probably cheaper than using gas heat this winter, so that's what I'd recommend.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
What about regular radiators, guys? the kind that are attached to the floor?
But, what's your heat source? They have to be attached to something that gets them hot.

I have one of the little electric space heaters that turns off when tipped over, and it has a thermostat. And, the screen around the heating coil/fan is very very fine, so nothing can get inside. It does turn off if it is tipped, it even turns off when I pick it up to move it. And I never leave it on in the room when I'm not there.

I'd go with the recommendation of the new radiant heaters as well. I am thinking of getting one for myself.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by catnapt
before i had cat eating plants
Wow, that was a great laugh!
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